27 answers

How Do I Get Husband to Stop Spending Money?

My family has been hit by these hard financial times like everyone else yet my husband cannot stop spending money. If I give a credit card for emergency purposes he uses it at fast food and conveinence stores. I have tried taking the cards away (which just makes him mad), I have included him in the bill paying process (which he hates), and even threatend to let him manage the money. I really don't want to give this over to hime because I know the mortgage will not get paid. This is how I got this duty to begin with. We have an appointment with a financial counselor but not until next month. I am at my wits end on how to get him to understand that we do not have the money to live the way he wants to. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You may have to switch to giving him cash on a weekly or monthly basis if you can...or get a prepaid visa card with a limit. It is hard to backpedal when you are used to a certain lifestyle but times are hard right now and unfortunately people are saying it is going to worse before it gets better! It might help to do a budget spreadsheet of all the money coming in and out and if he goes over show him the spreadsheet and ask him where you should pull the money....ie food, gas, mortgage? If he sees it on paper, he might realize the situation you are in and be more careful!

1 mom found this helpful

I know you said he doesn't like it, but if you could try to make him a part of the bill paying process, I think that would make his spending real to him. It's easy to use credit cards and not think about the money as actual dollars. If you could try to pay most bills all at once at the same time every month, it could become a habit. Try to make it appealing to him- maybe include something that he likes as part of the ritual. For instance, if he likes Chinese food, have one night a month when you order take out and then tackle the bills. And maybe try not to get angry at him when you see how much he spends- he will realize it himself if he actually takes part in paying the bills. Hope this helps...good luck.

I have had similiar problems with my husband as well. One thing that helped a little was not letting him have any cards, but set aside a specific amount of cash each week and that was all he was allowed to spend. It really helped a lot.

More Answers


My heart jumped when I read your call for help just now. It was like taking a step back in time and reading my life over again. So I guess I am your future. Here to show you that you can and will get through this together and come out stronger on the other side. My husband and I are living proof.

It was like this all of our married life. He had no concept of money. His idea of checking his account was what ever the ATM said is what he thought he could spend. I on the other hand, I love to manage money! I want complete financial freedom and am willing to do without to get us there. My husband was not willing to help me with our finances. He said he wasn't good at it and didn't want to do it. We got into financial difficulties after our first son was born; too many credit cards and too little will-power. I hated to always say no to him so I'd give in and we'd get deeper into debt month after month. I then would 'give up' and just go shopping too. Then regret would set in and we'd make a cycle of it all. Finally, I had had enough when we had to get a second mortgage to pay off the $18,000 we had on credit cards. I cut all of my cards up at that point. But my husband wouldn't cut his up. He kept using them and didn't see the big deal. He tells me now that he felt so bad and so low that spending and having things made him feel better back in those days. I tried everything that I could think of to change him. But nothing worked.

About 6 yrs ago, our world crashed right before our eyes. We had a wonderful home based business that was making tons of money (to us anyway). We were flying to FL to do tv commercials as well as doing radio commercials here locally and all of this was bringing the money in hand over fist. I guess we just couldn't see it coming. The government stepped in and took over the manufacture of our product and shut them down for good it turned out. We went from tons of money to no money over night. I called the creditors thinking we had a relationship with them...LOL...that's funny right there. It all was falling apart right in front of us and we couldn't do anything to stop it.

I had every book on making money that I could find and nothing worked for us. I happened to be at the tv one day when dollar bills started floating on the screen. No it wasn't me freaking out it was the beginning of a show that has changed our lives for the BEST. There were questions that came up on the screen with the dollar bills that were floating around. Questions like, "Are you sick and tired of your financial situation? Does your money end before the month does? Do you know what the Bible says about money? Did you know that God has a plan for money?" All of these questions drew me in closer and I watched that whole program and my life changed. I couldn't believe that money was in the Bible and that God had a plan for money. But when the man on the tv said that in the Bible when God speaks of money, it is the only time God says 'try me and see.'

So at that stage of the game, I set out on a mission to do just that "try God and see' if His word was telling the truth. When I told my husband, he thought I was NUTS! I figured I didn't have anything to loose since we were about to loose the house and our only automobile to foreclosure and the repo man. I found my old Bible that I had since I was a little girl and started reading the Scriptures that I had written down from that program I had watched. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. It was weird because none of my other money based books held my attention like this one did. It was simple really what God said to do with our money so why hadn't I read this anywhere before? I still kept going forward and applying God's teachings.

Now I want to fast forward to today. It's been around 6yrs or so and my husband is doing a GREAT job with our finances. He is learning how to manage our money and isn't complaining about it either. He recognizes now that this is truly my gifting so he's allowing me to teach him how he can do it too. I see it giving him a new sense of accomplishment that's boosting his self-esteem. And there's nothing more exciting than a confident man around the house!

We have paid off somewhere around $66,000 worth of credit card debt, the van was saved and paid in full and our home for over 13yrs was saved as well and it is now our ONLY debt. And ALL of the glory and honor goes to God! We could not have done it without His teachings and doing it His way. But we had to be willing to learn His way and to apply what we learned and He has always been faithful to us.

We now have a fabulous home-based business that no doubt was given to us by God. We get to help other families just like ours save money and create true residual income if that's their goal to do so. Think about the real life lessons that we have taught our children through our mistakes and our willingness to learn what we were doing wrong and to make it right.

Your husband needs you to partner with him through this difficult time in your lives. I want to encourage you to stand strong and fight the fight. Not fight him even when he very well may deserve it. It doesn't get you the results that you want...I've been there and done that. Love him through it and keep trying to talk to him and show him that he is still the leader and the head of your home but money management just happens to be your gift. And ask him to allow you to show him how staying on a spending budget each month will help you all reach your financial goals even faster. And if you do not have goals in place, set them up quickly. Ask him to share his ideas for financial goals for your family. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

I hope it helps to know that you are not alone.

Take Care,
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys 13, 8 & 2 yrs old and married to my Mr. Wonderful for 15 yrs. I love to help other moms, who would like to become SAHMs, reach that goal!

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with Dyreka - handing over the money management to your husband would be the worst possible idea at this point. I understand the logic behind your idea, but don't do it! Keep a tight reign on the credit cards and other assets until he gets his act in gear. That is great that you are going to financial counseling next month - hopefully that will be a great help to you.

You mentioned giving him a credit card for 'emergencies' - why? Does he have a cell phone to call for help? Would a $20 stuck behind his lisence be enough if he had to get a cab somewhere in case of a car breakdown? He obviously can't handle the concept of emergency-only credit, so I'd cut it off. It's not just a matter of spending too much money, but the fact that he could ruin both your credit scores and put you all in a very bad situation.

Maybe in the meantime you can give him a type of allowance each week (if he's not bringing in his own money) and pretty much starting from scratch there - if he can handle that, then he can work on earning more trust from you. It is unfortunate to have to resort to harsh tactics, but in these times you can't have much of a learning curve. You could also 'make' him sit down to do the finances with you before he's allowed access to the money. Maybe then he can see what comes in each month and what has to go out and then you can decide together on how to spend the remainder.

Money problems are no small thing, for sure, but I am glad that you consider him a 'wonderful man' and that he is there for you and your son. Hang in there and definitely seek God for what to do in this situation!

1 mom found this helpful

give him a set amount he can spend a month. then get one of those gift cards in that amount (visa gift card) he can use it anywhere he would a credit card and then when it runs out, it runs out. every month refill it (you can do this over the phone or online i believe) with the set amount. he will then learn to use his allowed money wisely and realize how much he is spending. you could also go wild with this and get a few one for gas one for food one for personal ect. this way everything you buy out side of the house wont go over the set limit. take tape or a sharpie and write on each card what they are for. at the end of the mont you wont have any surprises unless there really is an emergancy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.-

Until you have your meeting with the financial planner and get your finances under control, get rid of the credit cards and only use cash. You (or your husband, namely) can't overspend that way. Secondly, he has got to get on the same page as you concerning finances. If he doesn't there really is nothing you can do. Even if you have separate financial accounts or credit cards, you still have joint debt like your mortgage and his financial irresponsibility can have a negative effect on YOUR credit rating. And as impossible as it is to get credit nowadays, you do not want damage your lendability.

Good luck and best wishes on getting it all straightened out.

1 mom found this helpful


It sounds to me like your husband doesn't seem to understand that he's one of the adults of the house, not one of the children. Spending money on whatever they want is something children only THINK grown-ups get to do. I would suggest some marital counseling with a focus on expectations. What your expectations are for him as a husband and a parnter and vice versa. This seems to be about money, but it's very possible that there is a deeper problem at work. You said he "hates" being part of the bill paying process, well, everyone has to do things they hate. Grown-ups know this. He seems immature to me and I think the only way to bring him around without damaging your marriage in the process is through counseling. In the meantime, no matter how mad he gets, you're going to have to restrict his access to the money. He could do your financial "portfolio" serious damage with his irresponsibility and it's incumbent upon you to prevent that for the future of your family. If he's working you can't restrict his money of course, but if he's not and he gets ticked, you can always offer him the alternative of getting a job.

I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide. I ended up having to divorce my ex for behavior like this (only much worse since I was only an E4 in the military, he wasn't working and he was spending our grocery money on new shoes, rims for his car and alcohol.) Almost 5 years later and I am still paying off the credit cards I had to rack up just to feed our family.

1 mom found this helpful

I know my husband and I both loved spending money, and we solved it by giving ourselves an allowance. We each had $20 a month to spend on whatever we wanted, and we could go out as a family 2x a month-each of us got to choose one time. We were really really strapped at that point, and because of that practice we've learned better discipline with finances. The money we had was cash, so we couldn't go over, and there was no card for emergencies, though we did keep an extra $5 bill just in case we needed it for gas. If that would get spent though, don't let him have it. He has to learn responsibility, and that tends to make people mad, but it's necessary. It's not fair to have to keep trying to fix the over-spending: it just needs to stop.

1 mom found this helpful

You may have to switch to giving him cash on a weekly or monthly basis if you can...or get a prepaid visa card with a limit. It is hard to backpedal when you are used to a certain lifestyle but times are hard right now and unfortunately people are saying it is going to worse before it gets better! It might help to do a budget spreadsheet of all the money coming in and out and if he goes over show him the spreadsheet and ask him where you should pull the money....ie food, gas, mortgage? If he sees it on paper, he might realize the situation you are in and be more careful!

1 mom found this helpful

It might help to have a talk with him about what your goals in life are and what you are working together to accomplish. My husband also couldn't seem to resist the urge to spend, but once we set our sights on buying a house and to put every spare dollar into saving for that purpose, he came around. Now he is focused on getting his debts paid off and every time there is a temptation we just discuss our dream of buying a house. So for you, it could be a house, or putting your kids through college, or saving for retirement, or just getting out of debt. It might be all of those things, but I recommend focusing on one, whichever one you can accomplish first, so that you can both look forward to that day in the forseeable future and it will seem more real and not just a far-off wish. Whenever temptation strikes you can remind each other of what you're scrimping and saving for.

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